By Nicholas Godfrey
So you know Lord North was impressive in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Day 2 behind closed doors at Royal Ascot. In fact, you’ve probably seen all the races – but here’s some other stuff you might like to know.
What’s going on?
Gosden not rushing into Eclipse
After showing a brilliant turn of foot to win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, Lord North was cut to 4-1 (from 12) with the sponsors in betting for the Coral-Eclipse Stakes on July 5.
However, trainer John Gosden – who is planning to reintroduce Enable in the Sandown contest – wasn’t keen to nail Lord North’s colours to the Eclipse mast.
“He’s had two pretty quick races,” he said. “I would say give him a week, 10 days and see how we are. He’s had two hard races, so we’ll freshen him up and then make decisions.”
Coral-Eclipse betting (Coral): 11-10 Enable, 3 Ghaiyyath, 4 Lord North, 8 Japan, 10 King Of Change, 12 Magical, 14 Barney Roy, Deirdre, 16 Headman, Sangarius.
Memories of Halling
Gosden made comparisons between Lord North and Halling, who captured the 1994 Cambridgeshire before going back-to-back in 1995 and 1996 in both the Coral-Eclipse and Juddmonte International.
“It does bring back memories of Halling – this is a very progressive horse,” he said. “He has got better and better.”
Geldings go 1-2-3
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes may be renowned as a stallion-making race but this year’s result was unusual indeed for a G1 event inasmuch as the first three home – Lord North, Addeybb and Barney Roy – are all geldings.
The winner was gelded after the spring campaign of his three-year-old career. “He needed to be – he was tormenting himself,” said Gosden. “Testosterone is the most dangerous drug in the world, and he is a lovely horse to be around now.
“Halling had a hock injury as a three-year-old and it messed his career up. This boy just became aggressive at the gate and was becoming a danger to himself, let alone others.”
Not soft enough for Addeybb
William Haggas was proud of his Prince of Wales’s Stakes runner-up Addeybb. “We just need the heavens to open,” he said. “That slows the quicker ones down and he is more effective on soft ground; he has run a great race.”
Russian Emperor now Ballydoyle No.1
After his late-running victory in the G3 Hampton Court Stakes, Russian Emperor is now the shortest-priced of the Ballydoyle battalions for the Investec Derby on July 4 at Epsom. A 12-1 chance with Paddy Power, the son of Galileo is only 8-1 with Coral; he was Ryan Moore’s 60th winner at Royal Ascot.
Third-placed Berlin Tango, who carried a 4lb penalty, will bypass the Derby to wait for the rescheduled Dante Stakes at York on July 9.
Derby betting (Paddy Power): 11-4 Kameko, 100-30 English King, 11-2 Military March, 12 Russian Emperor (from 16), Vatican City, 14 Mogul, 16 First Receiver, Pyledriver, 20 bar.
Queen keeps tabs on Tactical
The Queen wasn’t at Royal Ascot – but she was certainly following the action as First Receiver was second in the Hampton Court before Tactical landed the Windsor Castle Stakes under Lord North’s rider James Doyle.
“It is obviously a great shame that Her Majesty is not at Royal Ascot to enjoy the buzz of a winner,” said royal racing manager John Warren.
“She has studied every bit of it today watching the races. The last two days she has been able to spend a little bit of time watching the big races. This was the icing on the cake to have a winner for Her Majesty – it is tremendous.”
Tactical will now be aimed at Group-race success in either the Richmond Stakes or Prix Robert Papin.
Epsom question for Hukum
Jim Crowley recorded his fourth success iver the first two days in the colours of his retainer when Hukum took the King George V Handicap for trainer Owen Burrows, who was enjoying his first Royal Ascot success.
Jockey and trainer agreed there was a discussion to be had now about a possible Derby tilt. “I will have to speak to everybody about it,” said Crowley.
“He is certainly a horse that stays well, but it is whether he has enough experience to go around Epsom? He lugged a bit to the left there and whether he’d handle the cambers of the track is another question.”
Burrows reported that Hukum had been struck into on his off-hind.
Shall we talk about it?
John Gosden (Lord North’s trainer): “I was looking at the race and talking to Peter [Shoemark, racing office manager] and I thought this race was winnable for Lord North, so at 9.55am we put him – it was very late.
“He is very powerful and, for a gelding, he has a great body to him. They went a very strong gallop today – there was no hiding place. They didn’t stop for a breather – they kept going the whole way.
“The favourite missed the break, which muddled the race for him, but this is a proper horse. He sat out the back and won with great authority – he could’ve waited even longer. He was ridden very cool. Rab Havlin told James Doyle that was the way to ride him. Rab has ridden him in all his work and rode him at Haydock.”
James Doyle (Lord North’s jockey): “I think when John takes a horse into a race like this, you do have to prick your ears. Obviously, Lord North looked quite unexposed coming into it and he has gone through his grades.
“I was asked if it all played into my hands, and I guess it did in the sense of how the race panned out. I didn’t see them going as quick as we ended up going.
“Lord North settled beautifully out the back, took me into the race nicely and showed a good turn of pace when I asked him, so it certainly wasn’t a fluke, and he can continue this and be quite a strong force in these type of races.”
William Haggas (Addeybb’s trainer): “I am very proud of Addeybb today – he has run a great race. He is better on softer ground but he always tries his heart out and has run a solid race again. If I keep running him on good ground, he will not keep going and doing that. He just gives his all and he has become a high-class very consistent horse and that is another very good run.”
Charlie Appleby (Barney Roy’s trainer): “If you take the winner out, there is not much between the rest of them. He saw the trip out well and it would be nice if we stick to our long-term programme with him, which was to take him out to Australia. We will see where we are come the autumn and if we can travel with him.”
Ryan Moore (Russian Emperor’s jockey): “He is a lovely colt, straightforward and with a good attitude. He was very professional; he has had the benefit of a couple of runs this year and let’s see if he will keep progressing. He has a very good pedigree – his dam was exceptional in Australia. I think he will be a nice horse going forward for the rest of the year.”
• Find out more at the Royal Ascot Racing Hub